A new scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, has been launched to provide a ‘safe and affordable way’ for people on lower incomes to buy a bike and start cycling.
While 62% of Scottish households with a net annual income of more than £50k have access to one or more bicycles, this falls to below 20% for households with an income of £15k and below.
The Access Bikes scheme, organised by Cycling UK, will offer interest free loans of up to £500 to 500 adults who are eligible to become a member of Capital or Scotwest credit unions.
The pilot scheme is thought to be the first in Europe to offer interest free credit union loans to purchase bikes.
Loans can be used to purchase new and secondhand adult bikes, plus accessories such as helmets and locks.
Participants can also access tailored support from Cycling UK including help choosing the right bike, cycle training or confidence building sessions and support to access local cycle groups.
Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK’s head of development for Scotland said: “We believe this innovative scheme can make a big difference for people who want to cycle but don’t have access to a bike.
“Many people in Scotland struggle to access essential services or work because they face a lack of affordable transport options. We know this exclusion can be tackled through access to a bicycle, but paying for one upfront is often not an option.
“Access Bikes will provide interest free loans so that people can buy a bike and discover the freedom, convenience and pleasure of cycling.
“For those who need a little extra help, Cycling UK will also be on hand with bespoke support from one-to-one cycling sessions to advice on finding the ideal bike.”
Patrick Harvie, minister for active travel, said: “Promoting cycling is something the government must do to respond to the climate emergency.
“To make cycling easier, infrastructure is critical, but so too is affordable access to bikes – and I look forward to the success of the Access Bikes initiative.”